Borve Lodge Estate

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, at Borve Lodge Estate

Whether living on or just visiting the island, we all know how wonderful the summers can be here, with blue skies, turquoise seas, and, with luck, some warm sunshine. 

Harris in Winter: A Cold But Stunning Beauty

However, the winters can be just as stunning; the days still have sunshine – although a little cooler and the sea still has hints of turquoise in the deep blue. But it is at night, with twilight starting in the late afternoon around 3 pm and the Sun not peaking until the following late morning, that the dark skies can put on a show here.

The Allure of the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis

The northern lights, aurora borealis, at Borve Lodge Estate, Isle of Harris
Image courtesy of Marcia Hagwood

The Aurora Borealis, or as some know them, the Northern Lights, can be elusive, but in recent weeks, we have had some of the most spectacular light shows for some time. There is very little light pollution on Harris, which means the conditions are ideal for seeing this phenomenon.

What Causes These Lights?

Auroras are the result of solar flares on our Sun – a burst of energy in the form of charged particles carried on the solar wind toward Earth. The particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and gases in our atmosphere, resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen produces a green and red light, while Nitrogen glows blue and purple.

Capturing the Aurora

There are frequent aurora throughout autumn/winter periods, but these are not always visible to the naked eye. Weaker displays can often be picked up on camera with a long exposure. However, when the lights are at their strongest and visible to the naked eye, you can get fantastic pictures just by using a camera on a phone.

Anticipating the Aurora

If you‘re wondering if an aurora may be likely during your stay, an excellent site to keep a close eye on is ‘Glendale Aurora’ – https://aurora-alerts.uk/. Based on the Isle of Skye, the forecasts are very accurate, and an app is also available to download from the website. It’s always up to date with the current status and upcoming activity.

Celebrating Dark Skies

An Lanntair, the hub for creativity and arts in Stornoway, also hold a ‘Hebridean Dark Skies Festival’ in March each year and is currently making plans for 2024 – read more about this here, https://lanntair.com/creative-programme/darkskies/.

Plan Your Winter Visit

So, if you want to witness this spectacular scene, grab your woolly hat and warm coat and start planning your winter visit with us.

Our Guest Galleries

These are some of the beautiful dark skies and aurora photographs our guests took at the Rock House and The Broch.

As seen on the BBC, Scotland’s Greatest Escapes

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